Sen. Ted Kennedy’s political career was tarnished on July 18, 1969, when his car crashed off a bridge on the tiny Massachusetts island of Chappaquiddick, plunging into the dark waters of the tide-swept Poucha Pond and killing 28-year-old passenger Mary Jo Kopechne — a mystery that continues to haunt “America’s Royal Family.”
The shocking events leading up to the political aide’s demise are the subject of Fox Nation’s new documentary titled “Scandalous: Chappaquiddick,” which aims to investigate how the youngest Kennedy narrowly escaped from drowning and returned back to his hotel room unharmed.
The Fox Nation special features never-before-seen interviews and retellings of the events that night, cracking down on the truth, pieces of evidence and errors that were apparent.
That fateful night, Kennedy offered Kopechne a ride from a party at Chappaquiddick — and less than 10 hours later her dead body was being pulled from the soaked vehicle.
At the time of the accident, Kennedy told police he was “unfamiliar with the road,” and that he came up to a narrow bridge at which point the car “went off the side of the bridge.” According to a description from a 1969 New York Times article, the road approaching the bridge is “narrow” with “no warning side on the approach.”
Kennedy also claimed he had “no recollection” of how he got out of the car but added he “came to the surface and repeatedly dove down to the car in an attempt to see if the passenger was still in the car,” noting he was “unsuccessful in the attempt.”
The accident was not reported by Kennedy, but rather by a mother of a little boy who saw the overturned car in the pond when he was fishing. Kennedy later described his failure to report the incident to police as “indefensible.”
At the time members of the media swarmed Chappaquiddick, right off the east coast of Martha's Vineyard, and unraveled Kennedy’s multiple mistakes during the evening — derailing Kennedy’s presidential ambitions for certain.
Kennedy would go on to become one of the longest-serving U.S. senators, despite previously speaking of a “Kennedy curse” following the incident, questioning whether “some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys.”
The circumstances surrounding Kopechne's drowning remain muddled nearly 10 years after the senator's death in 2009 at age 77.
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